Ask A Guy: How Can I Get My BF To Start Planning Things?

Want your BF to plan more fun stuff than just this?

Ethan: I don’t want to sound totally materialistic, but my boyfriend is broke and it’s kind of affecting our relationship. Like, I don’t want expensive meals and gifts all the time, but I do want him to do more stuff than just coming over and hanging out. That’s all he thinks he can afford but there’s so much free and cheap stuff we could be doing instead of only couch time. I pay for stuff when I plan it but I want him to do some of the planning too because I’m sick of doing it all. And it’s not that romantic to always be the one in charge, you know? How can I get him to plan things without telling him exactly what I want and basically planning it myself?

As a handsome Spanish waiter once told me, “Amor con amor se paga”: Love is paid with love. You have a right to be ticked, because your boyfriend doesn’t need riches for a romantic date. He could easily plan a walk in the park and prepare a picnic featuring some of your favorite (affordable) foods. Let him pick his own flowers, splurge on a king sized bag of M&Ms, and serenade you at the end of the night, and you’ve got a date fit for a princess.

Boyfriends, take note: this is totally cute.

However, as you know, telling him exactly what you want him to plan sucks the date of all potential romance. Instead, I would first suggest an open conversation. Remember, direct communication is crucial to committed relationships. Try not to make a big production of it, but wait until you’ve got his full attention (i.e. after he finishes watching Tosh.0). Then, instead of focusing on why you’re unhappy, remind him of how much you enjoyed those times he did make the plans, and suggest that he do it again. Positivity is important here — complaints will never be received as well.

If he’s never taken control of anything before (or your message simply isn’t penetrating that thick man-skull of his), then choose a weekend you’re both free – ask to plan one night yourself and for him to plan the next. Make a lighthearted game out of it, and try to be supportive and appreciative of whatever he comes up with. If this doesn’t get him to change his non-planning ways moving forward, you’ll need to have a final conversation in which you gently, but explicitly, lay out why you’re feeling unsatisfied.

Every lady likes to be treated to a fine meal now and then. But if your man can’t afford to do so, then he needs to at least show a different type of effort. And if he can’t step his game up after you’ve taken all of the steps outlined here, I’ll get you Esteban’s number.

Good luck!

Are you confused about a guy? Do you find yourself wondering, “What is he thinking?” Tell us everything in the comments! And if you have a question for Ethan, email him at!


More of Ethan’s advice: should you wait for him to say ‘I love you’?

Posted in: Ask A Guy, Dating, Help&Advice, Love Advice
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  • pixie93

    Dear Ethan
    I’m 18yo and had recently discovered I have a lump in my breast. I terified! Mostly bout dying :'( I have my whole life ahead of me . Another concern is: will guys be attracted to me if I only had boob?

    • Ethan Fixell

      Hey Pixie –

      I’m really sorry it took me so long to respond — I didn’t see this comment until literally today! Your situation sounds like it could definitely be frightening, but I’m hoping you’ll be A-OK as long as you get to a physician as soon as possible. Your question is a great one, though, and I would be happy to answer it if you can email it to! Then look for the response here in the coming weeks:

      Thanks so much for writing, and good luck with everything,


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